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Interview: Team England diver Daniel Goodfellow

Sports Mole talks to Team England diver Daniel Goodfellow ahead of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Later this month, Team England will be sending more than 400 athletes Down Under to compete at the Commonwealth Games to defend a mammoth 174-medal haul from the Games in Glasgow four years ago.

Among those hoping to leave the Gold Coast victorious is young diver Daniel Goodfellow, partner to Tom Daley in the 10m synchro event.

The 21-year-old began diving with Daley two years ago and since then the pair have claimed a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, silver on the European stage and a gold at the British Championships.

Ahead of his trip to Australia, Sports Mole sat down for a chat with Goodfellow to talk about his ambitions for the Commonwealths and beyond.

Team England's Daniel Goodfellow pictured prior to the 2018 Commonwealth Games

This will be your first Commonwealth Games as a senior - what sort of event are you expecting?
"Yes, it's going to be my first Commonwealth Games. I was injured for the last one. I was going to go for the 10m synchro with my synchro partner Matty [Lee] but we ended up both having an operation on our elbows, so this is going to be my first selection. It's another multi-sports Games, I've done a couple of them already so I know what to expect from that side of things. The competition side of things, you've got a lot of strong nations - you've got Australia, you've got Canada, you've got Malaysia, who are all very good. It depends which events I get selected for - there's potential for me to get selected for the 3m, the 3m synchro and the 10m synchro, so I'm just going to go out there and put on a great performance. I think it's going to be really, really exciting."

Obviously you have a lot of big competitions such as the Olympics and the World Championships. Where do the Commonwealths rank among these big events?
"It's a bit of a different one - you don't have China, which is the strongest diving nation. I think it's the same as any other big event, the standard's going to be good. A lot of the strongest diving nations are actually going to compete. It's going be hard, and it's definitely a big competition coming up in the calendar along with the World Cup and the Europeans, so it's one of the big three I would say for the next year."

You compete in 10m synchro with Tom, but what are your ambitions as an individual diver?
"I'm concentrating a lot on my 3m individual at the minute, as well as the 3m synchro as well. I've been having a lot of injuries over the last year - it's getting better now but it's prevented me from doing the 10m individual. The 10m individual is still a route that I'm probably going to go down later on but I'm going to wait until I'm completely fit to restore all the parts for that. The 3m individual at the minute I'm really enjoying and I think I'm pretty good at it, so I'm going to concentrate on that and then if 10m individual is something I can go and do later, then I'll do it."

You've been competing with Tom for two years now. How do you cope with all of the attention that naturally comes with having him as your dive partner?
"The way I see it is it would be a wasted opportunity not to do synchro with somebody of the likes of Tom, because he's been major for the sport, he's a very talented diver. I saw it more as an opportunity - I didn't really see the pressure side towards it, I just thought 'this is a great opportunity to go to the Olympics and possibly medal'. You're always going to get some kind of negative media attention if you synchro with Tom in a way, but you've got to put that to one side and concentrate on what you've got to do. But I think I deal with it pretty well. There's always people who say stuff on social media every now and then, but to just to be able to be up there and compete with the likes of Tom is a dream come true for me."

How often are you training together at the minute?
"It depends really. I go off to London every couple of weeks usually and he comes up to Leeds as well. It's probably not as much as it should be at the minute, but there's not been a lot of competitions. Now we're into competitions season we'll be seeing each other at the competitions as well, so we'll probably be seeing each other every two weeks."

In terms of your routine, have you changed that at all and have you considered adding in any new dives?
"We've looked at some new dives and we may do in a couple of years. We've been playing around with stuff, but the list we have at the minute is actually a really high-tariff list in terms of the degree of difficulties. I don't think we actually need to learn any new dives to carry on winning medals, but if other divers step it up and start learning new dives, then we might have to. But I don't know yet, I think we're just going to have to wait and see. The list we have at the minute is perfectly good for us - I think when we're both fit it's a list that can win us medals at important competitions."

We're two years out from the next Olympics in Tokyo - have you started thinking seriously about that yet?
"I think you're always thinking about Tokyo. You run on a four-year cycle - you've got these big competitions every year like the Worlds and the Commonwealths but the Olympics is everyone's main target and that's a real important one in whatever sport. As soon as Rio was finished we were already thinking about it, so everything we do every year is put in place so it's not a rush for when the Olympics come around in 2020. So I'm always thinking about that, and the coaches are always thinking about that, so we're ready for when it does happen."

After Rio did you experience this post-Olympics blues that everyone talks about?
"I think everyone does. I didn't experience it to the extent of what other people have experienced. You work your whole life to go to the Olympics, it's a dream come true, and then after it happens, what do you do for the next four years until it potentially happens again? The motivation side's a bit hard and in 2017 I definitely struggled a lot with injuries and sometimes with motivation, but I feel like this season I've had a great preparation. I'm over all that now but I did experience it a bit, I think everyone does. Especially if you win a medal as well, but I think if you still wanna dive, it's all good."

The Commonwealth Games diving competition gets underway on Wednesday, April 11 on the Gold Coast.

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Tom Daley in action during the 10m prelims on February 22, 2015
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